As they were expected to do today, the Supreme Court ruled on the Obama administration's Affordable Health Care Act. And it looks like they upheld most of it, five to four. The individual mandate still stands. Conservative Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. ruled with the majority.
News outlets are scrambling now to analyze the ruling and figure out the details of SCOTUS' ruling. It's complicated. But we have a few ideas of what this ruling will mean to Americans.
According to the SCOTUS ruling, the individual mandate says that you must have coverage (public or private) by 2014 or face a tax penalty. By 2016, when the law is fully in place, that tax penalty will be close to $695 per person. There is some speculation that young, healthy people will do the math and decide to just pay the tax penalty rather than pay for health insurance.
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It appears that there are provisions for people who refuse to comply with the mandate if they can demonstrate they have religious or financial issues with it. I'm not positive about that, though -- analysts are still looking into it.
Insurance companies will be required to take anyone, regardless of health. They will not get to charge sick people more for their policy than healthy people.
States will be able to expand Medicaid to cover more people. This means more people will qualify for Medicaid IF their state chooses to participate in that expansion. However, SCOTUS struck down the federal government's right to withhold Medicaid funding from states that choose not to participate in the expansion. So if you're hoping to qualify for Medicaid under the new law, you'll have to wait and see what your state decides to do.
This ruling will make the health care law even more of a hot button issue with the election. Obama will claim this as a victory. Romney will use it as a reason for change in the White House.
How do you feel about the SCOTUS ruling? Do you think it will affect you and your family?
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